This was a question I was asked recently and it came up again just this week as I was participating in discussions about how to start new things. There are many possible answers and you can read many good books – and a number of not so good books – on this topic.
I think that there are three very basic foundations to effective ministry. In my opinion each of which MUST be in place if the project is to have any chance of getting started and thriving and you might be surprised to see that strategy and money aren’t included.
I’ll start by listing the key elements and then go on to elaborate a little on what happens in the cases where just one is missing. Unfortunately, I have experienced examples of all of these and they are painful to observe as the initiative moves towards it’s inevitable failure.
The three key elements are:
- A clear, God given vision. That is …
- affirmed and owned by the appropriate body or group. Who, in turn, affirm …
- a vision-bearer (individual or group) willing to advocate for, and commit to, implementing the vision.
If this is a three-legged stool – the sequence is important as well as the presence of each three elements. So, what happens if one is missing?
- No God-given vision – in this case people have no restraint – enthusiastic individuals, encouraged by enthusiastic groups, can end up doing whatever they feel like with no accountability or direction from the Lord. This can lead into all manner of ‘works’, and it might accomplish something, but it is not likely to be fruitful in the Kingdom. It is, after all, the Lord’s work not ours.
- No ownership – in this case there is no accountability and no committed support. Enthusiastic individuals with a God-given vision become unaccountable, lone rangers. The process of gaining ownership in Kingdom ministry is crucial as with ownership comes faith, confidence, encouragement, commitment and a willingness to ‘stand’ with the vision-bearer through thick and thin. Potentially worse, is if the ownership comes after the vision and vision-bearer are formulated as this can produce acolytes, much to the vision-bearers detriment.
- No vision-bearer – in this case a clear vision, supported by a group, who are very keen to see it happen but without anybody capable to drive it forward and make it happen. This often results in nothing happening however, perhaps worse, is when something is started but this is done out of collective duty or guilt, rather than passion. As this ‘places the load’ on those for whom it is a secondary commitment, which is a classic route to frustration, disillusionment and burn-out.
When these three elements are in place, we have the basis for developing the resources, deriving the strategy and recruiting the people – in this context we have the best chance for a thriving, fruitful ministry.
What do you think?
If you want to know how to do a creative planning process with a group of people, in order to build in these three core foundations then get in touch – it is a very rewarding process for a leader to walk through with a team/group/body.
The views expressed in this blog post are personal to the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the GC network.
Latest posts by John Bagg (see all)
- What are the keys to effective, sustainable Kingdom ministry? - 8th November 2018
- Will you say it? - 20th September 2018